Paid Family Leave: How it Works
New York’s Paid Family Leave program provides wage replacement to employees to help them bond with a child, care for a close relative with a serious health condition, or help relieve family pressures when someone is called to active military service.
Employees are also guaranteed to be able to return to their job and continue their health insurance. If you contribute to the cost of your health insurance, you must continue to pay your portion of the premium cost while on Paid Family Leave.
TimelinePaid Family Leave is designed to phase in over four years, starting January 1, 2018. Schedule:
Year Weeks Available Max% of Employee Average Cap % of State Average
Weekly Wage Weekly Wage
1/1/2018 8 50% 50%
1/1/2019 10 55% 55%
1/1/2020 10 60% 60%
1/1/2021 12 67% 67%
Employees may take the maximum benefit length in any given 52-week period. The maximum benefit is eight weeks during the first year, 10 weeks during the second and third years, and 12 weeks the fourth and subsequent years. The 52-week clock starts on the first day the employee takes Paid Family Leave.
Paid Family Leave coverage will be included under the disability policy all employers must carry. The premium will be fully funded by employees through payroll deductions, expected to begin approximately July 1, 2017. A maximum rate of employees’ contribution will be established each year.
Virtually every full-time or part-time private employee in New York State will be eligible for Paid Family Leave. Participation in the program is not optional for employees. If you are a public employee, your employer may opt into the program. Public employees who are represented by a union may be covered if Paid Family Leave is collectively bargained.
An employee must be employed full-time for 26 weeks or part time for 175 days to be eligible for a Paid Family Leave Benefit.
Employees do not have to take all of their sick leave and/or vacation before using paid family leave. An employer may permit you to use sick or vacation leave for full pay, but may not require you to use this leave.
Maternity and Paternity Leave
Whether you are a parent expecting, fostering or adopting a child, you deserve to take time to care for your child without having to sacrifice your savings or your job. With proper documentation, in 2018, you may be eligible for up to 8 weeks of employee-funded Paid Family Leave.
Paid Family Leave only begins after birth and is not available for prenatal conditions. A parent may take Paid Family Leave during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.
Caring for a Close Relative with a Serious Health Condition
New Yorkers have the right to be with their families in times of need without having to put their economic security at risk. The time you spend caring for a loved one with a serious health condition is critical. A close relative includes:
- Domestic partner
- Parent in-law
- inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential health care facility; or
- continuing treatment or continuing supervision by a health care provider.
Active Duty Deployment
Paid Family Leave is available for families eligible for time off under the military provisions in the federal Family Medical Leave Act when a spouse, child, domestic partner or parent of the employee is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order of active duty.
Paid Family Leave cannot be used for one’s own disability or qualifying military event. It may only be taken to care for your:
- Domestic partner
BenefitsFor example, in 2018, an employee who makes $1,000 a week would receive a benefit of $500 a week (50% of $1,000). Another employee who makes $2,000 a week would receive a benefit of approximately $648, because this employee is capped at one-half of New York State's Average Weekly Wage (NYSAWW) --currently $1,296. Half of that amount is the $648 benefit.
The Average Weekly Wage (AWW) is set every year after a comprehensive analysis by the New York State Department of Labor.
PFL (Paid Family Leave)
Does Paid Family Leave cost me anything?
New York’s Paid Family Leave is entirely employee-funded. That is, the benefit is paid for by employees.
Beginning on or after July 1, 2017, you will see a payroll deduction to pay for your Paid Family Leave benefit. The amount of the deduction will be established before July 2017.
Do I have to participate in the Paid Family Leave program?
Yes, Paid Family Leave is not optional for most employees. The exception is if you are in a job that will not allow you to attain the 26 continuous weeks or 175 days needed to qualify for Paid Family Leave (for example a seasonal worker).
I am pregnant. Will I be able to receive Paid Family Leave during my pregnancy?
Paid Family Leave only begins after birth. It is not available for pre-natal conditions.
Will I be able to use Paid Family Leave to take care of an eligible relative living outside New York?
Yes, as long as you are caring for an eligible family member, and provide the medical certification.
I am not a US citizen. Will I still be eligible for Paid Family Leave?
Yes. Your citizenship status has no impact on your Paid Family Leave eligibility.
I am an undocumented worker. Can I take Paid Family Leave?
Yes. Your immigration status has no impact on your Paid Family Leave eligibility.
Will I be able to use Paid Family Leave if I work part-time?
In most instances, yes. You must work 175 days part-time to be eligible for a Paid Family Leave benefit.
I am collecting workers’ compensation. Will I be able to use Paid Family Leave?
If you are not working and are collecting workers’ compensation, you may not use Paid Family Leave.
I am a freelance worker. Am I eligible for Paid Family Leave?
If you do not have a regular employer and work as an independent contractor, you will not have Paid Family Leave benefits unless you purchase coverage for yourself.
I am a farm laborer. Am I eligible for Paid Family Leave?
If you work in service as a farm laborer, you are not eligible for disability or Paid Family Leave benefits.
Will I have to take all of my sick time and/or vacation before I use Paid Family Leave?
An employer may permit you to use vacation or sick leave for full salary, but may not require you to use either.
Can I take Paid Family Leave and use my sick and/or vacation time together so that I receive my full salary?
Yes, if your employer allows you to use your sick and vacation time to allow you to receive your full salary, than you can do so.
Will my spouse and I be able to use Paid Family Leave at the same time?
If you and your spouse have different employers, you are both eligible to take Paid Family Leave at the same time.
However, if you and your spouse work for the same employer, they can deny Paid Family Leave to more than one employee at the same time to care for the same family leave recipient, or to bond with a child.
Do other states have Paid Family Leave?
New York will now join California, Rhode Island, and New Jersey as the only states in the nation that provide a Paid Family Leave benefit. When fully implemented, New York will have the longest and most comprehensive Paid Family Leave program in the nation.
Visit the page below for more information from Department of Labor